[Subject is wearing black slacks, white shirt, and black tie. He looks uncomfortable as he sits across the table from me]
It was taken, maybe, thirteen or fourteen years ago? I'm not really sure. And yeah, she passed away about three years ago now.
It kind of sucks. I thought we'd have more time together. I kept, like, getting invited to visit her in the Philippines and I guess, I don't know, I feel really guilty about this but, I was, like, how do I put this? I was really in my own head that whole time, like, I'd get asked to come without having to pay, you know? But I'd be like, "uh, next time, next time, I can't really leave the states right now". And uh, yeah, just, I look back on it and uh, you know, hate myself a little bit [laughs nervously].
Oh yeah, yeah. That's the last picture of us. I don't know where the physical copy is or anything, it probably got lost in a box filled with other pictures I should have on me at all times [laughs]. But I don't know. It kind of sucks, I mean I was barely a teenager in that photo. And like, a year or so before she passed, I think everyone went to go see her for her birthday and I was one of the only ones that wasn't there. So, like, I go visit my aunts or my uncles, you know? And just get reminded that I missed out on this big party for her. It's, uh, yeah. It is what it is, whatever the fuck that means
Can I just go to the bathroom real quick? Thanks.
[Subject returns, tie is loose, top button unbuttoned. Might have been crying. Eyes are puffy]
Where were we? Oh yeah. Yeah, uh, we spoke on the phone maybe a couple of days before she passed. It was alright, I guess.
Really? Isn't that kind of invasive? Like, alright, whatever. I'll talk about it. [lights a cigarette] I know I can't smoke in your house but I'm fuckin' gonna, alright? I didn't think you'd want this much for whatever the fuck this is.
Yeah, yeah, I'm calm. Don't worry about me. But yeah, so for about fifteen minutes she spoke to me in Tagalog [the Filipino language], I could barely understand what she was saying. But with tears in my eyes, you know I was just like saying "yeah, Lola [Grandma], yeah" and uh after that she broke into English and, uh, [starts tearing up] said uh, "Please shave your face" [laughs].
[laughing, tears in eyes] Yeah, I don't believe it either. I mean, her last words to me was a reminder to shave everyday. It's the funniest fucking thing but it's who she was, you know? It's who she was to me, anyway. And no, I still constantly forget to shave my face. I'm probably, like, clean shaven a couple times throughout the year.
I shave around her birthday, if I remember. Uh, for Mother's Day. And, uh, you know. Anytime she, uh, enters my mind.
[end of interview]